When to Send Out an Agent Query

2 September, 2013

The ease of email queries, which most agencies accept, has resulted in writers sending queries to agents at all times of year and hours o102-02444_IMGf the day.The assumption is (I think) that it’s OK to send out queries at odd times because we agents can read them whenever we like. The reality, for this agent anyway, is that with smart phones, I’m always aware of when a query comes in if it is addressed to me personally.  And I’ll admit, it makes me awfully cranky to receive a query on Christmas or New Year’s Eve or Labor Day or weekends. Perhaps because I began my career in the world of corporate publishing, I still maintain a pretty standard work week schedule.

I remember the early days of faxing, when authors suddenly started to contact agents and editors at any hour they pleased, just because they could. Until then, we had to go into the office to read your letters (yes, folks, hard copy letters).  The fax seemed to cry out:  Hey, this is urgent.  Yet most of the time, it really wasn’t urgent.  It was just…a fax.

It may not make sense to you writers out there, but trust me, you’ll be more likely to get my attention if you respect the work week.  When I sit down at my desk on Monday morning, I actually look forward to hearing from writers.  But email me at 11:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, and I very well may overlook it.

Of course, you can do as you please.  But hey, agents are people, too.  We work hard, but we also have families and friends, and yes, lives.  Taking time to disconnect from our work allows us to come back refreshed, with renewed energy.  And that’s good for you!

–Joelle Delbourgo